Today’s readings tell us what our Dads have always told us: “Don’t be stupid!” Only the Book of Wisdom slaps us in the head with a more tender swipe:
“Wisdom proclaimed from the heights above the city, ‘Let the simple come this way.’ To the fool she says, ‘Come and eat my bread, drink the wine which I have drawn! Leave foolishness behind and you will live, go forwards in the ways of perception.’”
If only our Dads had such grace of language. They could learn a few things from Jesus too, who in today’s gospel is echoing Wisdom:
“This is the bread which has come down from heaven; it is not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.”
Jesus was the personification of wisdom, and he was offering us the ultimate brain food: himself. His words resonate to this day because he packaged the truth in context we could all relate to. He used parables, or situations we all encounter in daily life. The common denominator was love; if you didn’t love the least of your fellow man, you couldn’t love God.
In fact Jesus taught us to fear God, but this was not so much fear of God as fear of not having God with us. It’s the same fear we have of hurting our wife or children with some foolish or thoughtless action and somehow pushing that love further away from us. We pay for such stupidity when wisdom eventually slaps us upside the head and convinces us to ask for forgiveness. With our loved ones we seek out a secluded space in our home so we can tell them in the most intimate way how sorry we are for hurting them and how we’ll never do that again. With God we seek the shelter of a confessional, but the message is the same: “I’m sorry. With the help of your grace I’ll never do that again.”
Love is as simple as that. And God is love. And Wisdom tells us to cast off our surplus stupidity and to collect and distribute an abundance of love.